Your assignment is to write a 700 words position paper on the topic below. You are welcome to draw from course material, but you must also strengthen your argument using research from outside the class readings. Your paper must have a clear thesis and be supported by evidence.
Topic: In 2014, Facebook released the results of a study that found that Facebook users are likely to be emotionally influenced by the posts that appear in their Facebook news feed. The study argues that when researchers changed the algorithm that determines which posts show up in users’ news feed to show positive posts, more users demonstrated positive emotions and likewise when the algorithm was changed to show more negative posts, the users were more likely to post their own negative posts. The results of this study can be found here: http://www.pnas.org/content/111/24/8788.full (Links to an external site.). Many people, scholars included, objected to the ways in which Facebook conducted this study, calling the study unethical. Write an essay in which you either argue for or against the notion that Facebook’s study was ethical; in doing so you must meaningfully consider the role of Facebook’s algorithm in the social lives of Facebook users. Please note that you are not being asked to debate the legality of Facebook’s actions, but rather the ethics of such research.
This is an academic paper. You must support your argument with evidence drawn from at least three (3) sources. These sources should be of quality that is acceptable for citation in academic writing, which means that they cannot include sources such as Wikipedia.com, About.com, Ask.com, etc. You must cite your sources (both in the text and in a bibliography) using a recognized citation style (specifically, APA and Chicago are acceptable). Information on how to cite sources is available here: http://www.libraries.iub.edu/index.php?pageId=337.
Successful papers will have
- an organized, structured argument with
- strong support (quality citations used to back up claims made in the paper) and
- most importantly, a clear thesis and supporting claims.